"Oh, Lord forgive them, for they know not what they do!" Words apparently uttered by a Jewish chippie commenting on the appalling quality of Roman joinery in a cross he was schlepping around. They could also apply to the brave act, by management, of inviting the Ferals to appear at the Winton Historic Races.
The only racing the ferals have ever been interested in, is the race to the bar to see who gets the first beer, so it came as a complete surprise when we were contacted to mingle with the polishers and the boy-racers. They even promised free tickets, reserved parking, and a chance to hoon around the track. We thought it would be a good shit-stir, and agreed to it as long as we could invite our friends from the Central Unrestored National Treasures Society to come as well
It was on!
We all agreed to meet at Fowl Andrew's Shed near Rushworth on the Friday, and proceed in convoy the next day.
The Ferals and the C.U.N.T.S dribbled in during the evening.
First to arrive were the Lupino and Simon TASL in the White-shoe Bentley, and Deaf John in the Austen 7 Pram, to be met by Andrew and Barb and poultry in the B Model Ford, and Brett and Maria who were to take the Fowl One's 1951 Dodge Lurcher.
Then the C.U.N.T.S arrived en-masse, having been detained in the Rushworth Pub for some several hours. Bull in the Chev Fleetmaster, Gazza in the Fordson 10/10, Smack in the Morris J Van, Dodgie Dave and Macca in the Dodge Beekeepers Ute, plus Bruce & Thommo in an Inter Truck which carried the firewood and heater for the next night.
As the evening progressed, others arrived: Rex Walrus in the SS1 with tear-drop van, the Mauler and Nursie Lee in the Dodge and trailer, the Brickie and Izzy in the Dodge Brickie's Ute, and Robbo in the Ply Mouth Pig with Helen and Norm, the Coffin Chippie, as ballast (as if it needed it). All in all, 13 there, with Yandoit's Crossley at the track, to make a fair showing of 14.
Fowl Andrew is a bit of a trend-setter. Not only has he pioneered the provision of fresh eggs for camping by carting around chooks, but is starting a fashion trend by demi-shaving; i.e, LH beard, and RH moustache off, or vice versa if so desired. Combine this with a mullet, and top it off with a dead possum hat, and the result is startling to say the least! Could catch on though!
The Fowl One's shed, apart from being very large, on 40 acres, was also luxurious. Lined, insulated, with all amenities, including large heater and jukebox; it just yelled out: "Party Time!" Which is what happened.
In the morning several punters were the worse for wear, including your's truly, who during an un-beer in the middle of the night, forgot where his bed was, and just slept on the couch. There were vague memories of tormenting the Brickie's dog, Country, with Shaun the Sheep Eski, by simulating sheep-attack on poor Country. In the morning the dog had not forgotten, and the Lupino, waking to find Country staring at him, extended the hand of friendship only to have it nipped. Fair cop! (Country was later witnessed biting Shaun's rear leg. He bears a grudge, does that mutt).
There's a close bond between feral and car, and no less than 4 cars were also hung-over and refused to start. By about midday both punters and cars were more-or-less ready to go and so we buggered off. Cars were breaking down, and/or getting sidetracked, so the Lupino and Simon TASL headed off as an advance guard to Winton.
Arrived there about 2.00pm to find that there had been a fuck-up, and that someone had left a back gate open, and our parking had been contaminated by modern dross. No worries we'd just park where ever.
On arriving though we had noticed a large sign saying that BYO grog was Verboten! This, we reasoned, could not possibly apply to us, after all, management had read our website, and still invited us, and, in a published interview with the Murdoch Press, we had given notice that it was our intent to drink beer and talk bullshit, so we just ignored it, and carried on as we normally do, and no-one seemed to care.
By about 3.00 most had arrived, and you could tell in which parts of the car-park we were, by the crowds. Fowl Andrew had picked up a fresh fox from the road on the way, which was a nice touch, though the chooks probably had different ideas.
By about 3.30 the rain had stopped, an event which coincided with the arrival of The Apostle of Wetness, aka, Yandoit Andy. Spooky!
By 4.00 we'd had enough and went to the other side of the racetrack and set up camp.
You can say a lot of things about the C.U.N.T.S., and ideed most of those things have been said, and some may have been hurtfull, if they'd give a fuck, which they don't, which is why they're C.U.N.T.S. One thing you can say, though, is that they do come prepared.
Bringing an enormous Inter truck to cart firewood may seem overkill, but it carried a lot more: a tyre rim from an earthmover which formed a most superior fireplace, and a tarp big enough, when stretched between 4 vehicles, to form a covered area bigger than a Munich Beer Tent at Oktoberfest, which it sorta resembled the next day.
The pissup that night was a great success. The highlight for this correspondent was when he turned around and, instead of there being Shaun the Sheep Eski where he had left him, there were suddenly two sheep. Spooky!
Apparently another camping punter had noticed Sean in the trailer and found us, bringing his sheep, Baabaaraa. The Shepherd was mightily pissed off that his sheep was not an eski. Sheep envy ensued. We welcomed him to the pissup, however, as we welcome all well meaning drunks. The sheep seemed to get on well together.
During the evening a height-challenged-feral-little-petunia took great exception to the style of music being played, spat the dummy, shifted his vehicle and trailer, and, in a fit of pique, went and parked 500 yards away in a large puddle. Ah!.. ya get them in the best of families! We just ignored the prat and carried on regardless.
In the morning Baabaaraa was found head down in a bin, which summed up the feelings of the sore-headed ferals pretty well. She just couldn't hold her liquor like Shaun.
The morning showed, again, how organised the C.U.N.T.S. were. The Lupino was scunging around for a bit of honey to put on his crumpets, when up popped Dodgy Dave. Dave happens to be a bee-keeper amongst other things, and he happened to have brought a bee-hive with him, as you do.
"Stand back a bit," he said, "I haven't brought me smoker with me, and they may be a little pissed off."
As it turned out, they weren't unduly pissed off, and he managed to get a frame of fresh honeycomb from the hive, and we scraped the liquid gold straight from the hive. It just doesn't get any better than that!
We packed up the tent, Shaun and Baabaaraa (there being no sign of the Shepherd), and headed for the track carpark.
Even we, who are a tad hardened to such things, were a little astonished at our reception
This time the organisers had cordoned off a fair section of the car park for us, though still not enough.
Anyhow, to ask the ferals to park in a defined way, is going against basic nature. There was fucking chaos. A number of ferals had trailers, which are virtually impossible to reverse in a vintage touring car because you just can't see them. So there were 14 ferals all trying to park at once, plus a couple of hundred spectators clogging up the works, which resulted in beautiful pandemonium.
We were mobbed. At one stage I mosied over to see what was happening on the track, and I reckon there were more people looking at rust than there were watching the million dollar cars go around.
We shared the car park with the Jaguar Club, but I reckon the Walrus's SS got more attention than all of them combined. People rushed past imacculate Cobras and Gullwing Mercedes to look at what?.......a J Van! It just shows that class will out! We reckon that the bloke with the Gullwing spent more on "restoring" his car than we spent on the entire 14, and that includes our purchase costs.
Yeah, well,... after an hour or so, it got really fucking boring. I mean, we're a driving club. We like driving our cars on dirt roads and drinking piss, and yarning to the local wild-life. Continually answering: " Yeah mate, it's a ...(insert year), and No mate, I'm not going to fucking restore it." Palls after the first 50, and so does the batting back of offers to "display" at other gatherings of the polished and the polishers, with their set little time-tables: "You will be expected to arrive..etc" Fuck-em!
Anyhow, we started to wonder how the fuck we were going to escape, when it appeared we were going to do our "parade lap" at lunch time. Fan-fucking-tastic!
En route to the start, the White Shoe Bentley had a brake malfunction. Whereas previously it had fuck-all brakes, suddenly they came on all at once and ground us to a halt. We eased off the adjusters and advised TASL to only use the hand brake. He was shaken, if not stirred.
Anyhow, the arrival of the Ferals at the start was typical. While all others were anally parking in tight little straight lines, the Boys were all over the place, and there was even an attempted ovicide by
Fowl Andrew on Shaun and Baabaaraa! All the time the anals were telling us:"Put that away! You can't drink in the pits!" Mate.. it's when we are in the pits that we really start, and anyhow, what are ya gonna do, chuck us out?
So eventually the faffing around ended and we we off. It was sooo slow. There was some prick ahead that was holding us up. The White Shoe Bentley finally sped up, only to be faced by a wall of J Van, and no brakes. TASL was white, and had to apply the footbrake, which stopped us instantly, but which meant we had to reverse to disengage the shoes. No worries. Off again.
The hold-up eventually turned out to be Deaf John, who was driving according to instructions. Once he was passed, it was on for one and old. Passing,(Officially Verboten!) was engaged in, as was chucking stuff off your car, and cutting across corners to pass half the field, and going cross-country just for the hell of it.
May I say here, now, that we experienced the supreme shame of being in a Bentley, on a racetrack, and were passed, not only by TWO 1924 DODGES, but even worse, by a 1929 PLY MOUTH PIG! You can witness this outrage by clicking HERE for the video.
They only allowed us one lap, the bastards! We were just getting into it. Was it something we did?
When we came back to the start, we had a demi-second to decide if we were going to go back to: "G'day mate, what year is it? Are you gonna restore it?" and, "Hello, I represent the .........(insert club name), let me give you this flyer. We would love you to all come along on the day!", or, alternatively, to bugger off. A no-brainer really.
Before leaving, we thought we'd better return Baabaraa to the Shepherd, in the J Van. She had enjoyed the run, and bonded with Shaun, but part with her we must. The Shepherd would not think of us leaving without a parting ale, which we could not refuse, being polite, as we are. We thought we'd had only a couple, when we wandered back to the J Van to find it occupied by a large polar bear. We told it to fuck off and headed back to the others. Unbearable behaviour!
We mosied back to Fowl Andrew's shed, with only a couple of breakdowns on the way, and had another ripper of a booze-up, with Andrew playing his favourite 1970's schlock records, well into the early hours which was appreciated by almost everyone.
The TASL was a tad unnerved by the braking incidents, and, The Fowl One being of the knowledgeable variety when it came to matters mechanical, the former did a masterly flick-pass of the Bentley for the latter to fix, and buggered off with Robbo at Sparra's leaving the Lupino to come back in the Austin Pram with Deaf John.
Everyone left, eventually, in the morning, and I must say that, after the initial apprehension of travelling in a motorised courset doing 15,000 revs, it really grew on you! In fact the high level vibrations, and the noise, rendered conversation impossible, so one mused existentially. If a tree drops in the forest, and there is no-one to hear it, does it make a sound?
If a valve bounces repeatedly, and the owner doesn't hear it, has it actually happened? Deep.
But what a pisser little car! We went on back roads, dirt roads, and it being Deaf John, we went along a disused railway line, up and down a mountain, and the gutsy little thing hauled two large males, and gear with constant screaming, occasional valve bouncing (existentially putative), but only intermittent back-firing, and that was only when it was getting low on petrol. I thought that my MG TC was bullet-proof, but nothing compared to The Pram. (Thinks to self: "I've been too gentle on the Little Green Rocket!")
In hindsight. Was it worthwhile going there? Yes.
Was it fun? Mostly. Would you do it again? No.
Why? Some things in life, like losing your virginity, or eating Vegemite, are worth doing once, and either cannot, or should not be repeated. Going to Winton is one of those.
Post-script: It has since come to my attention that certain untoward advances were made towards a certain sheep by a certain unidentified person. We were not aware that there were any stray Kiwi illegal immigrants in the vacinity, and hold the Federal Government responsible for this breach of border (leicester) protection.
I. de Lupino